The disguised prototype is the first time we've seen a drop-top T-Roc on the road since it was confirmed for production. The disguise is surprisingly modest, given that the car is more than a year away from production, showing its thin windowline with a fabric folding roof in place up to the rear.
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At its peak, around 20,000 T-Roc Cabriolets will be made per year, representing an investment of around £70 million in Osnabrück targeting logistics and modernising of production and assembly technology.
More than 40,000 orders for the regular T-Roc have been placed since its launch late last year, although convertibles tend to be slower-selling for Volkswagen; just 613 Beetle Cabriolets were sold in the UK in 2017.
However, SUVs are increasingly important for the brand. It plans to launch 20 before 2020, by which time they will represent around 40% of its total sales.
It’s part of a new, more 'emotional' strategy as the brand introduces cars that steer away from its traditionally rational approach. The dramatically styled Arteon was the first example.
The concept designs for the T-Roc Cabriolet were so good that a production run was approved by Volkswagen's board even though it didn’t make “rational sense”, according to company sales boss Jürgen Stackmann. He said: “It’s a car we all wanted to make. There isn’t a huge market for it. That sort of car is only popular in a small number of countries. But we felt passionately we should do it.”
Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess added: "Volkswagen is evolving into an SUV brand. The T-Roc is already setting new standards in the compact SUV segment. With the cabriolet based on the T-Roc, we will be adding a highly emotional model to the range.”